The debate about whether the flipped classroom is the best method to teach languages has been open for a few years, however, now with the urgency of applying blended learning and social distancing, it is gaining steam again. In a standard classroom environment, students typically listen to lectures in class and take exercises and coursework home to do in their own time. Many pedagogy experts feel that this is the wrong way round. As a result of this, the flipped classroom methodology has emerged.
Alternatively, in a flipped classroom learning model, students use personal study time to do research, watch video lectures and engage with online content. Because they have done this before class, valuable time spent with their teacher or instructor can then be used to participate in discussion and complete supported activities.
This is a blended learning technique that incorporates multimedia, video and online content in addition to valuable in-person teaching. It was largely developed at Harvard University by Professor Eric Mazur.
How does this method benefit students?
Flipped classroom methodology is designed to benefit students by maximising the effectiveness of the time they have with their teacher. In other teaching models students are usually expected to do the majority of their coursework away from the classroom, without the support of their instructor. This can be difficult, especially if the students have struggled to grasp an important concept.
When the flipped classroom model is used, students get the benefit of input from their instructor while they are completing exercises and activities. They also benefit from extended debate and discussion with classmates.
Another key benefit is that when learning content is provided online, students have the option to go back and re-watch it as many times as they need.
How does it benefit teachers?
Teachers and training organisations can really benefit from flipped classroom too. Providing learning materials for students to engage with outside of class time means that teachers and trainers can be more creative in how they use lesson time. They have more scope to address misconceptions and difficult concepts and can even devote one-on-one time to individual students when necessary.
The real benefit to teachers and training organisations, however, is that students are likely to perform better when they are taught using this model.
What are the advantages of the flipped classroom model for language learning?
Flipped classroom teaching has fantastic implications for online languages learning. Studies have shown that e-learning can increase retention rates by up to 60%. Using the flipped classroom model for teaching languages allows training organisations and education centres to get all the benefits of language e-learning while still giving their students the value of classroom teaching.
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